From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Sat Jan 7 00:05:00 2017
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For the exam itself, you will mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET,
and NOT in the test booklet itself. You will either bubble in the
desired letter, or make an "X" through it...do NOT just CIRCLE the
If you are at an exam session adminstered by an ARRL/VEC VE Team, when
you're given the test booklet and answer sheet, examine them to make sure
they have the right number of questions, as follows:
License Exam: Exam Color: Questions: Pages:
Technician Goldenrod 35 4
General Yellow 35 4
Amateur Extra Pink 50 5-6
If the VE Team is using the Exam Maker software, the Technician and
General exams have 10 pages, and the Amateur Extra exam has 15 pages.
Test booklets with other VE Teams (instead of ARRL/VEC) may be different,
but the number of questions will be the same.
If you notice pages missing, or other discrepancies, notify the VE Team IMMEDIATELY...and they will replace the defective copy of the materials in question. You will fill out the appropriate information on the left side
of the answer sheet, where required.
Cellphones, pagers, IPods, watches with hourly chimes, etc. MUST BE
TURNED OFF, and PUT AWAY during the test session. While examinees with
hearing aids may use them, any other device (headsets, books, notes, possessions, etc.) MUST be put away, until the test session is completed.
As noted above, if your calculator has been CLEARED of memory resident formulas, you may use it during the exam...but, the VE Team will verify
that this is the case.
The only things that you may take with you upon leaving the test session,
are the personal belongings you brought with you when you arrived, and any applicable CSCE given to you by the VE Team. You may NOT take any test materials, answer sheets, or any other forms from the test session.
If you pass one test, and wish to take the next one in line to upgrade,
you won't be required to pay an additional fee. But, if you fail an exam,
and wish to retest...you will be required to pay another test fee, as
noted above...if the VE team will allow you to retake the exam with a
DIFFERENT set of questions. Whether or not you take more than one license
class exam at a test session is at your option, and it's not required that
you do so.
Some VE Test sessions will LIMIT the number of retest attempts, because
of time constraints. With most test sessions, only one (1) retest of a
failed element is allowed. If you fail the exam for a particular license
class twice in one session, it's best that you study some more before
If you need to take a break between tests (to stretch your legs, use
the restroom, etc.) you may do so. However, as noted above, CHEATING, IN
ANY FORM, WON'T BE TOLERATED!! The Volunteer Examiner Team will CONSTANTLY
BE OBSERVING ALL EXAMINEES during ALL tests, to make sure that this is
There is NO RUSH to complete the test...as you're more likely to make
errors if you do!! Take your time, and answer the questions that you know FIRST. Go back to the ones you're not sure of, and save the difficult ones
for last. If you do have to GUESS, do it INTELLIGENTLY.
If you leave a question blank...or mark more than one answer per question
on the answer sheet, it is AUTOMATICALLY a WRONG ANSWER...and it could be
the difference between PASSING and FAILING the exam!! If you have to CHANGE your answer, make sure you notate it as such. However, unless you're quite sure, your first choice is usually the correct answer.
If you finish the test early, turn your test booklet, and answer sheet
into the VE Team...once you're satisfied that "you've done the best that
you can do". PLEASE REMAIN QUIET, until everyone else has finished their
exams as well. Disruptive behavior by examinees or observers will NOT be tolerated, and the disruptees will be dismissed from the test session. If
the VE Team gets "too loud", please ask them to "tone it down to a low
roar", as it were.
Per Part 97.519, of the FCC Rules:
(d) The FCC may:
(1) Administer any examination element itself;
(2) Readminister any examination element previously administered by
VEs, either itself or under the supervision of a VEC or VEs designated
by the FCC; or
(3) Cancel the operator/primary station license of any licensee who
fails to appear for readministration of an examination when directed
by the FCC, or who does not successfully complete any required element
that is readministered. In an instance of such cancellation, the person
will be granted an operator/primary station license consistent with
completed examination elements that have not been invalidated by not
appearing for, or by failing, the examination upon readministration.
Note that unlike a VE Test Session, if you fail the readministration
of an exam before the FCC, you will NOT be allowed to take another test
that same day.
After The License Exam
When you're done with the exam, return the test booklet, and the answer
sheet to the VE Team. They will grade it IMMEDIATELY (or as soon as is possible), and tell you whether you have passed or failed the test...
although they can NOT tell you what to study the next time, if you failed;
nor they can they tell you which questions you missed. Once your test
booklet and answer sheet have been turned into the VE Team, you may NOT
have them back.
As noted above, there is no disgrace in failing an exam. If the VE Team
has the time and resources, and you're willing to pay an additional test
fee, they will let you retest, but with a different set of questions. Not
every ham radio operator has passed their license exam on the first try...
and some have taken nearly a dozen tries to pass an exam element.
If you pass the exam, and you do not yet have a callsign or a license; depending on processing time, your new callsign and/or license class
should be available on the Internet at the QRZ Ham Radio website at http://www.qrz.com in about 10 to 14 days...but sometimes, it may take a
bit longer...or it may be a bit sooner.
Once the callsign is there, you can begin operating. Look for the link entitled "FCC Reports"...and look for your name (last name first).
Archived entries are available, in case you can't access the Internet for
a period of time after you pass the test.
The FCC no longer mails out a "paper copy" of ones amateur radio license. Instead, about 1 to 2 weeks after the exam session, the licensee will be notified via email that their license is available via the FCC ULS...and
they are provided logon credentials (usually the FRN and a temporary
password, which should be changed after initial logon). Once logged on,
they can print an "Official Copy" of their license, plus a "Reference
Copy" to take to a future license exam session, should they decide to
upgrade their license. Also, once logged on, they can change their
profile to request a paper copy be mailed to them. However, with one
getting it electronically, you can print it instantly, and not have to
worry about the license getting lost in the mail.
Once the paper copy of your new license is in hand, you may DESTROY the
old license, and the applicable CSCE for the new one, unless you'd like
to keep the CSCE as a novelty. Be sure to SIGN the new license before you
make a copy of it, and/or laminate it; as the license is NOT valid without
If you have not seen your callsign or upgrade in the FCC ULS 2 weeks
after you took the test, you should call either the exam session liasion,
or the VEC. In the case of an ARRL/VEC test session, they can be reached
from 7am to 4pm Central Time, Monday through Friday (except holidays), at
(860) 594-0300 -- this is a long distance call.
Be sure to keep your U.S. Mailing Address CURRENT...as your license may
be SUSPENDED/REVOKED by the FCC, if mail they send to you is returned as undeliverable.
If you have a Certificate Of Successful Completion Of Examination
(CSCE), with a current license and callsign...that shows you've upgraded
to a higher license class, you may begin using your new license class privileges IMMEDIATELY...with the special identifiers, as follows:
UPGRADING TO: VOICE IDENTIFIER: DIGITAL IDENTIFIER:
Technician Temporary KT /KT
NOTE: This ONLY applies if upgrading from the "old Novice" license;
otherwise, no identifier is required...since Technician is the entry
class license...and you would NOT have a callsign to start with. The
digital identifier is for either Morse Code, or on a digital mode,
such as packet, PSK31, etc. -- the phone identifier is for voice.
General Temporary AG /AG
Amateur Extra Temporary AE /AE
The use of these special ID's follow your callsign on the new bands
for which your CSCE shows that you've upgraded to. If you previously
had privileges on a certain band without the CSCE (for instance, you
upgraded from Technician to General), you're not required to use the
ID on frequencies above 50 Megahertz. However, using the Technician to
General upgrade example, if you want to use the frequencies for the
General Class licensee, you are REQUIRED to use the new identifier.
If you upgrade to the Extra Class license BEFORE your General Class
paper license copy is in hand, or in the FCC database, you keep your
Technician Class license, and the CSCE's for the General and Extra
Class upgrade, as proof of your upgrades. Again, using the upgrade to
Extra Class as an example, you use the special identifier for it,
instead of the General Class license identifier.
Once your new license grant appears in the FCC ULS database, or on
the QRZ or Hamdata websites noted above), you're no longer required to
use the special identifier. This usually takes 1 to 2 weeks after the
day you passed the exam. Failure to use the identifier before your
license upgrade appears in the FCC database would make it appear that
you are operating on amateur radio bands outside your privileges, and
you could get a Notice Of Violation from the FCC if that occurs.
Ham Radio licenses are good for ten (10) years, and they may be renewed ninety (90) days prior to expiration...NO SOONER. However, if you have a
change of address due to a move, you may MODIFY your license in that
regard AT ANY TIME. If the FCC is unable to deliver mail to you, your
ham radio license, and operating privileges can be suspended and/or
revoked until your address is corrected. Operation without a license
can result in a stiff monetary forfeiture (a fine) and imprisonment,
plus confiscation of your ham radio equipment...fines range from $7,500
to $10,000, if not more.
If your ham radio license expires, but you have PROOF that you DID
APPLY for renewal no sooner than 90 days BEFORE expiration...even
though you may not have received the new license via the FCC ULS
(paper licenses are no longer mailed out, unless specifically
requested via the FCC ULS, as noted above), you may continue operating.
However, if this is not the case, you may NOT operate on an EXPIRED
ham radio license. But, you have a two (2) year "grace period" if your
ham radio license has expired, to reinstate your license. This "holds"
your license class privileges and callsign, until your license is renewed.
But, if you do not renew your license before it expires, and do nothing during the 2 year grace period, both your license and callsign will be FORFEITED. At that point, you have NO AUTHORITY to operate on the ham
radio bands, and it'll be as if you had NEVER taken a test!!
To get back on the air with the previous license class that you held,
you MUST take, AT MINIMUM, the Technician Class license, in order to get
back into amateur radio.
However, once an expired ham radio callsign passes the 2 year grace
period, anyone can apply for it under the Vanity Callsign system. So,
if you LOSE your current callsign, there is a chance that you may NOT
get it back!!
Also, if you upgrade your license to General or Amateur Extra, only the license class will change...the license expiration date will remain the
same. Only new licensees, or those receiving a Vanity Callsign, get a
fresh 10 year term...whether Technician, General, or Amateur Extra. I've
known hams who walked into a test session without a license, and walked
out with an Amateur Extra Class license...while not easy, it can be done.
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Posted by VPost v1.7.081019
From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Tue Oct 13 00:06:47 2020
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Preparing For An Exam:
Normally, you can't just "walk in off the street" to take a license exam without some preparation. You will be tested on the FCC Part 97 rules,
as they relate to amateur radio, privileges per the appropriate license
class, RF safety, propagation, "good amateur practice", various operating modes, electronic theory, formulas, and calculations; and this is the case
for EACH license exam...Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.
Each of these is in more detail, as you progress up the amateur radio
license ladder...going from Technician, to General, to Amateur Extra.
Passing the more difficult exams gets you more amateur radio privileges. Whether or not you stay with one license class, or upgrade, is totally
up to you. After all, amateur radio is a HOBBY...although some would
consider it an OBSESSION (grin!).
Like it or not, studying is NOT fun. But, you can study with a local
ham radio club study group, or do it on your own. The American Radio
Relay League (ARRL) website (www.arrl.org) has links to classes. Choose
your state (if it's not listed, then no classes are currently scheduled),
and look for a group in your area. It's wise to check with the contact
person to verify details, and check for any last minute changes.
2) The AA9PW website (http://www.aa9pw.com). A special item of note is the proven accessibility to blind users. There is an option for "no figures"
in the exam, and many blind users do indeed report that this site works
well for them. Additional features include on line Morse code training,
and a Morse code app available from the iTunes store (even though Morse
Code is no longer required for an amateur radio license). The site also includes practice exams for commercial licenses.
3) The Ham Exam website (http://www.hamexam.org). It offers up to date
exams on line, and includes a "flash card" learning option. What is unique
here is that you create an account (it's free), and as you use the site,
it learns which questions are giving you trouble and will emphasize those
in subsequent practice exams.
4) The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website (http://www.arrl.org).
It has license preparation materials for the Technician, General, and the Amateur Extra exams. Cost varies per item.
5) The W5YI website (http://www.w5yi.org). It has the study guides done
by Gordon West, WB6NOA...with similar materials to what the ARRL has
available. Again, cost varies per item.
6) If you are disabled, and need assistance with learning the materials,
you can contact Handi-Hams (http://www.handiham.org). They help people
with disabilities obtain, then study the material to obtain or upgrade
their ham radio license. Once again, cost varies per item. More resources
for the disabled are located at:
If you have a disability, the Volunteer Examiner (VE) Team may be able to
make certain accomodations for you to take the license exam, such as
giving a test without schematics, graphics, or diagrams...for an
individual who is blind, or severely visually impaired...or reading the questions and available answers to the examinee...who, in turn, tells the
VE what answer to mark on the test.
Note that MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION OF YOUR DISABILITY MAY BE REQUIRED IF
YOUR DISABILITY IS NOT OBVIOUS...and it's best to notify the VE Team as
far in advance of the test session as possible, so that proper
arrangements can be made. If you wait until the test session itself to
notify the VE Team of your disability, they may NOT be able to make the accomodations for you to take the exam...and you will either have to
take the exam without special assistance, or wait until another scheduled license exam session. If the VE Team is limited on exam materials without
any schematics, graphics, or diagrams (these are usually reserved for
those who are blind/extremely visually impaired), you may only be able
to have one try at that particular license class exam at a test session;
and will have to attend another session to "try it again", should you
fail the exam.
7) Ham Test Online (http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/index.html).
This option only requires a computer and internet connection (either
dial-up, DSL, broadband/cable, etc.). It is all web browser based, with
nothing to download. Unlike the options where you have to buy books, etc.
for each license class, you get a six (6) month subscription at different prices, depending on which class of license(s) you want to study for
(see the price list for details). It can be cheaper than all the other
license class books combined from all the sources noted above!! You can
take as long as you need to study...in the privacy of your home, to take
as many practice tests desired.
Once your study time, plus your practice test scores are both above 85%
on a consistent basis, you're ready for the real thing at a VE Test
Session. However, if after adequate study time and practice tests, you
still fail on exam day, just send them PROOF of the failure...and they
will CANCEL your subscription, and REFUND your money. Around 1% of all
who have signed up with them have requested a refund. Personally, it was
the best money I ever spent in amateur radio. I went from Technician to
General in only 14 days...and to Amateur Extra just 13 days later!!
It does NOT matter how many you miss on the exam...just as long as you
PASS the test!! Plus, there is no disgrace if you don't pass a license
exam the first time; you can retake the license exam, with a DIFFERENT set
of questions, if the VE team has the capability for you to do so...and
provided you pay an additional test fee. Many hams have had to do just
that when applying for a new license, or an upgrade...and they are on
the air today. Also, the number of "re-tests" per failed element at a
test session may be LIMITED. Chances are if you fail an exam more than
twice in the same session...especially by a large number...that you
need more study time on the material.
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